Top Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in 2021


It’s a new year, and that means new marketing trends are on the horizon. As we enter 2021, we have to ask ourselves: Which digital and social trends will continue to impact the nonprofit and commercial markets? Here are our predictions of six digital marketing trends to come in the new year.


Virtual events became popular in 2020 out of necessity for social distancing. However, we believe they are here to stay — even after a vaccine is widely distributed. Why? Because virtual events allow businesses and organizations to invite attendees and speakers from all over the world without geographical restrictions. Financially, virtual event costs are significantly reduced compared to traditional in-person events, because there is no venue necessary. Ultimately, this year has proven that virtual events can be just as successful as in-person events for both nonprofit and commercial groups.


Data shows that generational divides play a role in how consumers and donors spend their money, with older Americans preferring traditional means like checks or cash and younger Americans using virtual payment methods. What does this mean? It’s important to diversify your consumer-facing revenue sources. The more options you have for receiving payments, the better.


Facebook may still be the king of social media, but data shows that consumers are attracted more and more to short-form video content on apps like TikTok. With more than two billion downloads, TikTok surpassed Facebook as the most downloaded social networking app in 2020. Even if your business or organization doesn’t feel compelled to make a TikTok account, it’s worth noting that short-form video formats are rising in popularity.


Digital voice assistants, like Alexa, Siri, Cortana or Google Assistant have steadily increased in both popularity and functionality in recent years. Why does this matter for your company or nonprofit? It can impact your SEO. It’s important to understand that people don’t use the same keywords when they talk as when they type, and according to Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, around 20 percent of search queries are done by voice. We anticipate that voice search will only continue to become more common in 2021, so it’s crucial to optimize your website for voice search if you want to yield the best possible SEO results.


Social media use drastically increased during the pandemic. Similarly, we saw an uptick in social media influencer marketing, likely caused by the decreased access to in-store shopping and the subsequent push for digital brand engagement. Influencers have proven to be an effective marketing tool because they can speak on a more personal level with their followers compared to traditional advertising. In 2021, we expect businesses and nonprofits to use influencers more than ever before to generate online sales, donations and brand loyalty.


Market research shows that consumers and donors value authentic and transparent brand messaging more than ever before — and it has a real impact on where they choose to spend and donate their money. For example, 60 percent of Millennials and Gen Z plan on spending more money with businesses that took care of their employees during the pandemic. Our biggest takeaway from this? It is necessary to implement brand strategies to which your customers, clients, volunteers and donors can personally identify with, and your digital presence is a great place to start!

It’s clear that adaptability is key when it comes to staying on top of current digital and social marketing trends and adding them into your marketing tactics. How are you adapting your digital marketing strategies in 2021?